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Original Plaster Mold of Remington’s Iconic Bronze ‘The Bronco Buster’ on the Block

by WorthPoint Staff (12/22/09).

The original plaster model of Frederick Remington's iconic bronze sculpture “The Bronco Buster”—which hasn’t been seen by the public in more than 100 years, will be part of an estate sale hosted by Philip Weiss Auctions on Jan. 22-24, 2010.

The original plaster model of Frederick Remington's iconic bronze sculpture “The Bronco Buster”—which hasn’t been seen by the public in more than 100 years, will be part of an estate sale hosted by Philip Weiss Auctions on Jan. 22-24, 2010.

OCEANSIDE, N.Y. – One of only four original plaster models of renowned western artist Frederick Remington’s bronze sculpture “The Bronco Buster” will highlight the upcoming three-day estate sale hosted by Philip Weiss Auctions.

The plaster model was hand-carved and cast by Remington himself, prior to 1895, and is the oldest of the original four versions. It has never been offered for sale prior to the Jan. 22-24, 2010, auction.

In fact, it has never been seen by the public before. That’s because it has remained in the private collection of Roman Bronze Works since being acquired more than 100 years ago, and it has been in storage ever since. It is believed that Remington worked this, his first piece, entirely by himself and would not accept any assistance. It still has the artist’s original signature, which was never strengthened or cleaned.

The sculpture was exhibited at Tiffany & Company, when the firm was offering replicas of the statue for sale in the late 1890s. In 1901, the piece was bought by Roman Bronze Works, when Remington began working with Ricardo Bertelli, the founder of R.B.W. after Bertelli had seen “The Bronco Buster” in 1895. Bertelli had acquired one of the 40 original castings of “The Bronco Buster” by Henry Bonnard Foundry.

Remington worked closely with Bertelli until his death and gave him the plaster version of “The Bronco Buster” to be sold by Philip Weiss Auctions. Another original plaster casting of the sculpture was offered at auction in 1988, where it carried a dizzying pre-sale estimate of $350,000-$400,000. Philip Weiss Auctions has assigned this version a much more conservative sale estimate of $30,000-$50,000.

Frederick Remington (NY/KS, 1861-1909) is arguably America’s best-known and most revered western painter, sculptor and illustrator. His style was realistic and much of his work was narrative, the implication being that the West belonged to the white man, but his Indians were portrayed with dignity and nobility. He created about 25 bronze statues. The most famous of these was “The Bronco Buster.”

The Jan. 22-24 sale will also feature the original marriage certificate issued to Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley on May 26, 1994 in the Dominican Republic, where the musical icons embarked on their brief and highly publicized life together. The certificate was signed by both Jackson and Presley.

A fresh-to-the-market early original work of art by Kees Van Dongen (Holland/France, 1877-1968) will be up for auction.

A fresh-to-the-market early original work of art by Kees Van Dongen (Holland/France, 1877-1968) will be up for auction.

“Anything relating to Michael Jackson is of extreme interest right now because of his untimely death and the release of the movie,” said Weiss, “but when you have an item that combines his name and legend with the Presley name and legend, their marriage certificate no less, with both of their signatures on it, you’ve got something that’s almost impossible to predict what it will bring at auction.”

That same weekend, another slice of music and pop culture memorabilia will be on the block: a large photo of the Beatles, signed by all four members of the group and personalized to the late pianist Liberace. In their lighthearted way, the Beatles signed it “to Liber-Archie” as a play on words. Also in the auction will be many other pieces of authentic signed Beatles-related memorabilia.

Other lots sure to pique bidder interest include an important original oil painting by Jean Dufy (Fr., 1888-1964), an artist best known for his renderings of city scenes and musicians; a fresh to the market early piece of original art by Kees Van Dongen (Holland/France, 1877-1968); stamps galore, featuring a complete sheet of 80 Peoples Republic of China Scott #1586 (Monkey New Year); and horse racing trophies and other items of personal achievement from the late jockey legend Willie Shoemaker.

For more information about this auction, call 516-594-0731, e-mail phil@prwauctions.com or visit the Philip Weiss Auctions Web site.

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